Awful quarter hurts Eagles

Posted: September 13, 2010

The second quarter started well enough with the Eagles ahead, 3-0.

Trent Cole blazed into the Packers' backfield to sack Aaron Rodgers on the first play of the second 15 minutes, dropping him for a 7-yard loss.

Two plays later, though, the Packers tied the game with a field goal. A kickoff and four plays after that, fullback Leonard Weaver lay on the field, his season likely over after one quarter and one carry.

It was the beginning of a disastrous quarter that deflated Lincoln Financial Field and created a whole new set of problems before the first half of the Eagles' new era was over.

The Eagles rebounded in the second half, but the spate of second-quarter injuries cast a shadow that could loom far longer than Sunday's opening-day defeat.

Among the lowlights:

Weaver is believed to have torn his left anterior cruciate ligament, almost certainly ending his season.

Center Jamaal Jackson tore a biceps, likely ending his year as well.

Quarterback Kevin Kolb was nearly intercepted twice while trying to force the ball to DeSean Jackson - the second throw coming after he had been already been concussed by Clay Matthews. He would be forced from the game with the injury.

Middle linebacker Stewart Bradley hit his head so hard on teammate Ernie Sims' leg that he stumbled to the ground like a KO'd boxer. He briefly returned to the game, but was then pulled and also diagnosed with a concussion.

"Never seen four starters go down like that" in one quarter, said tackle Winston Justice.

In the second quarter, the Packers gained 125 yards to the Eagles' 16, and scored 13 points while the Eagles were blanked.

The quarter went so badly for the Eagles that center Mike McGlynn had a catch - and that gave him one more reception than Brent Celek and DeSean Jackson combined.

The Eagles actually picked up their lone first down of the quarter on their first drive. Then it began unraveling.

On an inside run, Weaver's knee bent backward in sickening fashion as he was tackled.

"I didn't even want to watch the screen. I heard everybody yelling in the stands and I knew it was bad," said safety Quintin Mikell. "Any time you lose a guy like that, such an important player, such an important leader, it's tough."

Two plays later, Kolb appeared to be intercepted by cornerback Charles Woodson after he threw to a covered Jackson.

The first boos of the quarterback's tenure - at least the first ones audible in the press box - rang out. The game was less than 20 minutes old. (The interception was overturned on replay but the throw was still a poor choice.)

Bad news returned on the Eagles' next drive.

Left tackle Jason Peters continued his troubling penalty habit by holding on first down. Then Jamaal Jackson, who worked hard to quickly return from December's torn ACL, was hurt while blocking for another Kolb incompletion.

"I feel terrible," said guard Todd Herremans, who spent much of training camp rehabilitating alongside Jackson. "He's been working so hard to get back here to this point, and for something like that to happen, my heart goes out to him."

Two plays later, Kolb tried to buy time on third and 14, only to be hammered by a rampaging Matthews. The quarterback chosen to succeed Donovan McNabb lay on the turf for a moment, his game nearly over.

Bradley was concussed on the Packers' next drive, which ended with Rodgers throwing a touchdown to give the Packers a lead they would never relinquish.

To cap it all off and add insult to the many injuries, Packers kicker Mason Crosby hit a team record 56-yard field goal to end the half. As the ball sailed through the uprights, the Linc clocks read 0:00.

Mercifully, the nightmare quarter was over. The long-term ramifications, though, remain.


Contact staff writer Jonathan Tamari at 215-854-5214 or jtamari@phillynews.com.

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